As Homecoming 2010 winds to an end and the 2011 Homecoming Executive Committee is selected, many members of the 2010 committee reflect on their experiences as Directors. OPPerations Director Gary McMillen shares some of his experiences…
Serving on the Homecoming Executive Committee is like being a member of Ocean’s Eleven. You start out looking uphill towards an unbelievable task – not quite a casino heist, but not far off. The Executive Committee is charged with coordinating one of the country’s largest homecoming celebrations. As a Director, you step off with an enthusiastic confidence, yet you’re bound to stumble, sputter and stall at points along the way. While that may seem discouraging, those tough moments are when close friendships are built and solidified. Looking back at my time as a Director I am so happy that I spent late nights in the HUB organizing, planning, problems solving, looking forward and of course – drinking lots of coffee!
When I was chosen to become the 2010 OPPerations Director I was ready to do some serious work. While I did “do some big work,” I also had the chance to learn a lot about this University. For example, Homecoming gave me the opportunity to learn about and connect with lots of student organizations and University faculty. I was terrible with Greek letters before my Homecoming responsibilities and I had no clue what the HUB Events Management Office was. I discovered that our Society of Women Engineers is quite animated and that the workings of the Office of Physical Plant are tremendous. Perhaps more rewarding than anything I learned was that Homecoming provided me with the chance to lead a group of Captains in accomplishing tangible tasks which affected many others. Although being a Director has its good and bad days, never did working with my Captains and fellow Directors fail to pick me up or make my day better.
Like everything Penn State, Homecoming is really all about the people. It’s about bringing together a varied group of students, faculty, staff and alumni from all across the community in order to accomplish something great and celebrate something greater – the tradition of “Dear Old State.” As a Director you realize quickly that Homecoming means a lot to a lot of people. It means a chance for that 1955 graduate to come back and show his children and grandchildren where Old Main is. It means a week of late night float building and it means honoring the passion that makes Penn State tick. At no point is this sentiment more prevalent than during the Homecoming Parade. As I rode down College Avenue, through the sea of Homecoming revelers, I saw the reasons that I love Homecoming all around me: students, parents, children and alumni, all bonded by two elements: Blue and White.
If you’re interested in being a member of the 2011 Homecoming Executive Committee apply at